“Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.”
Acts 14:19–20, NKJV
Paul and Barnabas were having a great time. First, many were coming to Christ. Then, Paul prays for a man who was unable to walk and the man gets up and is perfectly healed!
When those who lived in that area found out about the healing, they thought Paul and Barnabas were gods and wanted to offer sacrifices to them. After convincing the people they were not gods, their enemies came and turned the crowds against them. Not only were they not gods, but they were now false teachers! The people threw stones at Paul, executing him.
Life can be tough for those who bring the gospel. By some you are a breath of fresh air, sharing with them comfort and joy like they have never experienced in their lives. Others exalt the messenger. Then there are those who are opposed to the gospel completely. It is interesting how the same people who one day call you a god, can, the next, call you a false teacher. The gospel does that. If it doesn’t transform, it embitters. If it doesn’t bring conviction, it brings contradiction.
They supposed Paul was dead. Perhaps he was and God raised him from the dead. (see 2 Corinthians 12:1-6) Either way, he got up, brushed himself off and proceeded to go back to the city where he was just stoned. What an object lesson! The gospel brings life. Could you imagine what the people who stoned him thought? We can’t kill this guy; we can’t kill this gospel!